Chief Financial & Administrative Officer

The Student Conservation Association


The Student Conservation Association, Inc. seeks to recruit a Chief Financial & Administrative Officer (CFAO) to be based in Arlington, VA.


About SCA

The Student Conservation Association was conceived in 1953 by Vassar College student Elizabeth “Liz” Titus Putnam, who felt a deep personal connection to the natural world and was moved by the worsening condition of America’s national parks, which had become strained by overcrowding and had fallen victim to underfunding and disrepair. Putnam hatched the novel idea to leverage the passion of America’s youth to revitalize the parks. The model she designed was drawn from the Civilian Conservation Corps, a 1940s New Deal program that provided jobs for unemployed young men in the conservation of public lands. The program launched in 1957 under its original moniker, the Student Conservation Program, where inaugural crews of 53 college-aged young people began work in Grand Teton and Olympic National Park. While trail-building was the central focus, volunteers also took internships with park biologists and naturalists. The organization was officially incorporated as the Student Conservation Association in 1964 and the participation, partnerships, and richness and complexity of the work and its impacts have grown steadily ever since.


Today, SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land. Members participate in a variety of capacities and contexts. Beyond national parks, members work on marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks, and community green spaces in our nation’s urban centers. Members do land management, habitat restoration, trail building, disaster rehabilitation or prevention work, environmental education, public outreach, and more.


SCA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with an annual budget of $34 million and a permanent staff of 120 supported by seasonal placements of over 3,000 interns, field crew members, and crew leaders. Just under half of SCA’s staff and many of its operational functions are housed on its original campus in Charlestown, New Hampshire. The Board of Directors varies around 25 members and meets 3 times a year. SCA is built upon public and private partnerships. Approximately $25 million (73.5%) of its $34 million budget is secured through government agreements and grants. The balance of $9 million (26.5%) is comprised of philanthropic gifts and corporate sponsorships.  


SCA Strategic Vision  

SCA envisions a world in which conserving our environment is a commitment shared by all young people as they enter their careers and assume the responsibilities of citizenship. Toward that aim, SCA is building a national force of young people working to protect our natural and cultural world. The SCA mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

Building on its 60+ year history of success, SCA recently set out a bold strategic plan to engage more young people in addressing the nation’s critical conservation issues and preparing a passionate, capable and diverse generation of conservation leaders for tomorrow.  


About the Position

This CFAO is a critical member of the executive team and is responsible for oversight of the organization’s financial, administrative, IT, and property management operations. Reporting to the President, the CFAO ensures that the financial, administrative and IT functions to support the mission and objectives of the organization. The position is the primary staff liaison with the Finance and Audit Committees of the Board of Directors.  


The CFAO is responsible for the supervision of the finance and IT staff. Responsibilities include developing organizational budgets, overseeing cash management, organizational expenditures, accounting functions, and working with board members to manage the organization’s investments. 


The broad objectives for the CFAO are the following:

  • Collaborate with the CEO and other senior management to ensure sound financial strategies resulting in strong financial performance and a healthy financial position.
  • Support Board, CEO, and other senior management evaluation of economic models to help create new alignment of public and private revenue streams. Help set a new business model to guide the overall enterprise, e.g., move from a fee-based model to a more balance fee and contribution revenue structure.
  • Integrate IT capacity into supporting organizational and economic efficiency. Direct IT strategy and implementation.
  • Provide timely and accurate analysis of budgets, financial trends, and forecasts and provide oversight of facility management.
  • Direct and oversee all aspects of the Finance & Accounting functions of the organization.
  • Evaluate and advise on the impact of long-range planning, the introduction of new programs/ strategies and compliance requirements.
  • Establish and maintain strong relationships with executive, senior & mid-level directors to identify their needs and seek full range of business solutions.
  • Provide executive and mid-management with advice on the financial implications of business activities.
  • Ensure the financial team serves as an effective and collaborative organizational resource to inform, educate, and support budget development, execution, and management. Manage processes for budget development & monitoring, financial forecasting, and reporting to board and staff.
  • Provide recommendations to strategically enhance financial performance and business opportunities.
  • Manage cash and line of credit to minimize interest expenses and ensure working capital is sufficient to meet the changing needs of the organization.
  • Ensure that effective internal controls are in place and ensure compliance with GAAP and applicable federal, state, and local regulatory laws and rules for compliance, registrations, financial, and tax reporting.
  • Oversee annual financial audit and federal “single audit” required of organizations received federal grants.
Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes

The CFAO should ideally possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • A demonstrated senior-level track record of success leading financial and accounting operations; a strong understanding of nonprofit accounting practices for a 501(c) (3), including donor-restricted funds management is highly preferred. 
  • Demonstrated knowledge of government grants, agreements, and/or contracts.
  • Demonstrated success in managing all financial management activities of an organization including implementation of financial information and control systems, general ledger budgeting, cost allocation, etc.
  • Demonstrated experience in the management of daily, monthly, and annual financial statements and in developing and presenting financial reports on a timely basis to all key senior leadership.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of financial control systems including those that directly relate to nonprofit organizations.
  • Experience in oversight of information technology; project implementation; and best practices related to cybersecurity.
  • Ability to inspire and demonstrate trust, develop effective teams, and motivate them to work well together, including those that cross racial, ethnic, and cultural lines.
  • Experience thinking strategically, creatively, and tactically.
  • Highest level of personal and professional integrity and quality standards. 
  • CPA preferred. 



Compensation for the CFAO includes a competitive base salary and a comprehensive package of employee benefits. 


How to Apply

Click here to apply. 


The Student Conservation Association, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.
All correspondence will remain confidential.